Feds Demand Your Search Records from Google in Lawsuit Where Your Privacy Gives Way to Witch Hunt for Child Porn Searchers

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The U.S. Department of Justice is taking Google to court for Google’s refusal to turn over user search records in a lawsuit designed to breath new life into COPA – the Child Online Protection Act – which was struck down as unconstitutional two years ago by the Supreme Court. AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo have all already provided similar search records to the DOJ.

Under a lawsuit to which neither Google, nor MSN, AOL or Yahoo, are a party, in the government’s effort to revive COPA, the DOJ served subpoenas on Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL, demanding of each of them two sets of data: 1) a random sampling of URLs, and 2) a week’s worth of search queries.

Those subpoenas, it turns out, were served last summer, but the story has only broken this week. This is because while MSN, Yahoo and AOL all complied with the Feds’ requests, Google has steadfastly refused. It all came to a head this week when the government filed an action in Federal court against Google, demanding that Google turn over the data.

Your data.

Said Google General Counsel, Nicole Wong, “Google is not a party to this lawsuit and their demand for information overreaches. We had lengthy discussions with them to try to resolve this, but were not able to and we intend to resist their motion vigorously.”

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The bottom line is that the Federal government is demanding that Google give them information about searches which were looking for child pornography.

Does Google know who is conducting searches? When you do a search for “milk and apple pie”, does Google know that it’s you? Odds are good that they do, particularly if you use any of Google’s services (Gmail, Google News, or any Google service which requires you to log in).

That means that when the Feds get that file, and see that “milk and apple pie” search, they can go to Google and demand to know who did that search. And Google will know.

Ok, so the Feds may not care that you searched for “milk and apple pie”, but what if you have an infant and want to find a good photographer to take one of those ubiquitous baby pictures where the baby isn’t wearing anything but an artfully posed foot or draped blanket? And what if you searched on “naked baby pictures”? And what if that was in the file turned over the Feds for their current child porn search witch-hunt?

Would you care then? Would you be worried?


I sure would.

So kudos to Google for resisting the motion. As for AOL, MSN and Yahoo, who all gave up their search users’ information without a peep, well, how do you feel about that?

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3 thoughts on “Feds Demand Your Search Records from Google in Lawsuit Where Your Privacy Gives Way to Witch Hunt for Child Porn Searchers

  1. This is not a hard decision at all ….think of the 100’s or 1000’s of lives that have been sacrificed to protect our privacy against intrusive government fishing expeditions like these. It’s unfortunate that there are people who prey on the innocent but I for one will not forgo even one small freedom that I now possess to stop a few children from being victimized …That may sound cold and callous but guess what life isn’t fair and there will always be those who will suffer at the hands of others and forgoing our rights to be free from government intrusion into our lives is more important than anything else we have.

  2. It really comes down to how far you are willing to let Big Brother go before you bother to exert yourself to protect the rights and freedoms that countless American men and women have died for in order for them to be passed on to you. I truly feel that the current gaggle of hacks running things in America have given us ample proof of their grasping ways to gain and maintain power and their incompetence to use it wisely. The only thing that this crowd is really good at is clouding issues and misdirection. From the beginning of the 2000 campaign this administration has been engaged in obfuscation and misinformation. I have serious doubts that child pornography is the true reason for the justice department’s request for personal browsing histories. Has anyone forgotten the notices to libraries? You and you alone are responsible for your civil rights.

  3. I am not sure where to take a stand on this issue. It’s time for a lot of us to “put up or shut up.” This is the question we have to decide: are children more harmed by pornography, or are the rest of us more harmed by giving up a little privacy?

    One thing I do know: “naked baby pictures” are increasingly Politically Incorrect. Only perverts would want such pictures. Or so the P.C. thinking goes.

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